Optical Illusion using Math & Art

February has gifted us a really sunny couple of weeks over here in the UK but, unfortunately, one of my scientists has had a fall and sprained his ankle, so we have been stuck inside for the last couple of days!

He has been in a fair bit of pain so we set about doing a project that he could complete while resting up on the couch. 🙂

For a while now I have been wanting to look into PARABOLIC CURVES and combine some math with art. I did my usual snooping around the internet and found this fantastic blog.

First of all we printed off the FREEBIE templates and used coloured pencils and markers to create our art…

The boys were interested in how the curve was formed, but both my scientists prefer projects where they can use their hands more so I printed off extra templates and we got started on our main project.

Below is a list of things you will need…

As per my other posts, I will post pictures to show how we did this project.

Start off by lining up your template onto your piece of wood and then hammer the tacks/nails into place by following the pattern. I missed the middle dots because my tacks were quite large and they would have touched.
My kids did every other dot on the page as their tacks were bigger.
The next step is to tear off the template
You are now ready to attach your string or yarn
Tie your yarn into place at the start
Start to wrap your yarn around the tacks following the instructions on the original template
Keep on going around your shape pulling the yarn tight as you go along. there is no need to cut and re-tie for each section, just keep on going until you get back to the start.
Tie off when you are done.
I really love how it turned out! 🙂
My littles did a simplified version and they really enjoyed it
One of them didn’t want the red so he took it off and started with the yellow part of the yarn
Our finished items! I am so happy with how they turned out!

We looked into the definition of a PARABOLA so we could more fully understand the significance of what we had created…

DEFINITION: In mathematics, a parabola is a plane curve that is mirror-symmetrical and is approximately U-shaped.

We also used this website to help explain in a bit more detail. 🙂 (although we didn’t use all of the information as it was a bit too deep for younger kids)

So in easy terms, we created curves using straight lines – or in other words; a really simple optical illusion!

We really hope you give this one a try. It is a bit more work than some of my other ideas, but the outcome is definitely worth the effort.

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